Burden of pediatric neurosurgical disease in a rural developing country: perspectives from southwest Nigeria

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  • 1 Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Federal Medical Center, Owo, Ondo State;
  • | 2 Department of Neurological Surgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State; and
  • | 3 Division of Neurological Surgery, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
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OBJECTIVE

The proportion of the global burden of neurosurgical disease represented by pediatric neurosurgical pathology is unknown, especially in lower-middle income countries (LMICs) where there exists no known data-driven literature on the subject. In this study, the authors aimed to quantify the pediatric neurosurgical disease profile in a rural area of a developing country.

METHODS

This was a prospective observational study of all pediatric neurosurgical patients managed at a single center over a 30-month period.

RESULTS

Overall, 226 pediatric patients were included in the study (150 males and 76 females, male/female ratio 2:1), accounting for 20.4% of the total patient population during the study period. The modal age distribution was the 0- to 4-year-old group (32.3%), and head injury was the most common presentation, occurring alone in 157 patients (69.5%). Hydrocephalus alone was seen in 21 patients (9.3%) and in combination with myelomeningocele in 4 patients (1.8%). Brain tumors were found in 6 patients (2.7%), infective lesions in 6 patients (2.7%), and encephaloceles in 2 patients (0.9%). The treatment outcome was good in 170 patients (75.2%). Fourteen patients (6.2%) were referred to more advanced health facilities for specialized care; 29 patients (12.8%) were discharged against medical advice, mostly because of financial constraints; and 8 patients (3.5%) died. Several surgical cases could not be performed because of sundry logistical constraints.

CONCLUSIONS

Pediatric neurosurgical disease accounted for one-fifth of the neurosurgical workload at a tertiary health facility in southwest Nigeria. Trauma was the most common presentation, and optimal in-hospital treatment, including surgery, was hampered by severe logistical constraints in a significant proportion of the cases.

ABBREVIATIONS

GCS = Glasgow Coma Scale; GOS = Glasgow Outcome Scale; ICU = intensive care unit; LMIC = lower-middle income country.

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